Thursday, March 27, 2008

T minus seven and counting

I'm not normally much of a worrier (particularly about things out of my control, which is the category under which about 90% of the things I might worry about generally fall). That said, I've been more anxious than usual about my departure for the east coast tomorrow. It's probably all the horror stories I've heard about canceled and delayed flights lately (CBS News's story about thousands of displaced travelers today due to airplane inspections at major hubs likely didn't help). I've never been booked on a flight that was later canceled or overbooked, but for some reason, I got it in my head that tomorrow is when it would happen. Tomorrow, when I'm relying on getting to Philadelphia early enough to drive to Boston with Lara early enough to meet NPW and Noelle for dinner. It's a crazy travel day I've got planned, and it starts at 7:00 tomorrow morning. Except really, it doesn't. Somehow when I booked my 7:00 a.m. flight, I neglected to do the backward math and realize that a 7:00 flight means I need to be at the airport shortly after 6:00, which means I need to leave my house by 5:15, which means I need to get up at, oh, around... 4:30?!? That is 4:30 in the a.m., mind you. Obviously I should have gone to bed right after the 6:00 syndicated airing of The Simpsons tonight.

I am very, very rarely awake at 4:30, and on the unusual occasions that I am, I much prefer it be because I've not yet gone to bed, and not because I need to be up and showered and ready to go through airport security. It should be interesting to see just how this goes.

In any case, I have my boarding pass printed and all I can do now is hope for the best. Really, though, I likely needn't worry. I'm sure my flight will depart on time, I will be showered and packed and on it, and tomorrow night at this time I'll be beating some of my favorite Internet friends at Balderdash.

I'm deciding to ignore the bad feeling I had about this flight because of a new theory I'm working on--a theory that, basically, my instincts are crap. I've realized for years that I can't trust my gut the way conventional wisdom says I should. This is particularly true in dating... On the rare occasion that I have a good feeling about someone, I'd like to think it means something, but it's been proven to me time and time again that it does not. Take The Scientist, for instance. If my instincts meant anything, he would have realized that I am immeasurably more fun than a microscope and he would have left the lab and become my new boyfriend by now. Such is not the case. My gut knows nothing. My gut is both squashy and unreliable! I ask you, what good is that?

Rather than focus on the negative, however, rather than refuse to draw generalizations based on a handful of isolated incidents, I've decided to embrace this realization and make it work for me. If I can't trust my gut on good things, maybe it's routinely wrong about bad things as well. I'll ignore the good intuition AND the bad! Live a life without instincts! It's liberating, really. I feel freer than I've felt in years.

OK, that last part may not be entirely true, but it's something I'm pondering anyway. Not as much as I'm pondering how very tired I will be all day tomorrow, but pondering it nonetheless. Speaking of which, 4:30 is getting closer and closer every minute. I'd really best turn in by now.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone. I'll see you on the other side of the Great Blogger Meetup of '08.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No zombies were harmed in the making of this post. Unfortunately, none were written about, either.

So have you all heard about this Choose Your Own Blogventure thing? It is the brainchild of the terribly clever NPW (Special Agent NPW to some), and I am supposed to be writing my portion of it right now. It shouldn't be terribly hard, of course, but at the moment I can't seem to decide just where to go from "imminent zombie attack," and hence, I am stalling a bit. (Yes. Zombie attack. Anyone want to take a wild, shot-in-the-dark guess as to whose story segment precedes mine? And also, have I revealed too much? Was that against the rules? I hope not.)

Meanwhile, I thought maybe I'd warm myself up for my first zombie story by writing about something equally frightening, but when I tried to think of scary things, all that came to mind immediately were the Nutrisystem meals that have been sitting in the kitchen at work for the past three weeks or more. I have no idea who attempted to donate them--who had the nerve to leave the saddest prepackaged meals I have ever seen in that altar-like spot on the counter normally reserved for proper willpower-tempting offerings such as donuts and leftover Christmas cookies. Whoever it was, though, should win some sort of prize. They've just blown apart my theory that people will eat anything if it's left in the office kitchen. Also, note to the Nutrisystem people: hire a photographer. A professional one, I mean. The worst of the worst packaged meals in the freezer case still look delicious in the photo labeled "Serving suggestion," and mad photo skillz and tricks of deception have everything to do with that. I suppose there's something to be said for truth in advertising, but personally, I'm used to reserving my disappointment over my lunch until after I've peeled back the plastic film.

Shifting gears to the equally trivial (and decidedly girly--boys, feel free to think about basketball or zombies for the next paragraph or so), do you know what I am not currently disappointed about? My new hair dryer. I have always been of the opinion that, within certain important parameters, a hair dryer is a hair dryer. I'm like a guy that way: simpler is better. Too many choices overwhelm me. It's not my fault I can't make a decision: present me with seventeen seemingly indistinguishable options and it's no wonder I feel my head might explode. Hence, my Saturday afternoon trip to Ulta to replace my recently deceased hair dryer was entirely more stressful than it probably should have been. I might actually be embarrassed to admit how long I stood in front of the veritable wall of hair dryers, carefully considering the differences between each one, had there not been two other women directly beside me presumably running the exact same inner monologue: This one's red and has a retractable cord, but I don't really like its shape... This one is only $17, but it's also hot pink with polka dots... What's the difference between "ceramic" and "ceramic tourmaline"?... Do I really need adjustable ion levels??

As it turns out, apparently I do need adjustable ion levels (and tourmaline technology, too), because my hair is suddenly softer and less static-prone than it's been at any time in recent memory. I have not switched any other products, and the weather is not decidedly different from the weather a week ago, so I can only assume I have my pretty new light blue Revlon Total Styler to thank. (It's obviously the "Total" part that sold me, by the way. No one wants to be only partially styled, after all.) So yay, Revlon Total Styler! Your "super-quiet, lightweight design" may not be any more silent or more wieldy than my rattly old dryer, but I am pleased with you anyway.

I have no idea why I just decided to bore the entire Internet (or, more realistically, my tiny corner of it) by talking about abandoned diet meals and hair dryer shopping, but apparently this is what happens when I've got not a lot going on. I could relay the content of the flurry of emails between Lara, NPW, Noelle, and me earlier today, but it's probably best that we reel in our anticipation about that blogger meetup until after we've discovered if we can all actually stand each other. Besides that, we mostly just trash-talked about board games anyway. That's right, people. A group of bloggers are getting together in a city most of them don't live in, and the thing we're most excited about is Boggle, Balderdash, and Bananagrams. I have said it before and I'll say it again: this is what I love about the Internet. I may be a huge nerd, but I am among friends. Kindred spirits abound. East coast, here I come. Well, here I come on Friday, anyway. Meanwhile, that zombie story isn't writing itself. Best get cracking.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

If there's carrot cake and stroganoff in hell, it can't be all bad, I guess.

Well, crap. Is it Sunday night already? How on earth did that happen? I think we're all in agreement that time speeds up as we get older, so I suppose the weekends flying by in a blip should be no great surprise, but it annoys me anyway. I dream of a world with inverse weekends--two days of work followed by five days to spend as I see fit. Unfortunately, I have a friend who's living that dream right now, and it seems monetarily that plan is lacking just a bit. So it's off to work again tomorrow for me. Those of you with a four-day weekend due to that whole Easter thing? You can kindly bite me, OK? Thank you.

That said, I do have only a three-day work week in front of me, and for that, I rejoice with glee. Yes, Internets, I haven't yet shared this publicly, but I'm heading out of town again this weekend, bound for the east coast this time. I'm taking care of #4 on my list of New Year's resolutions and finally meeting my Internet BFF, Lara, in real life. And I'm managing a few other blogger meet-ups in the process. Full details later (with pictures, I'm sure). And it's good that that resolution is finally panning out, because the rest of them? Not so much, it seems. I'm actually doing pretty well on the vitamin one (and the calcium supplement, too). It seems marking myself accountable on my kitchen calendar was the key I needed to make that one stick. And the "get fucking organized" goal? I'm working on it. One problem area's been taken care of, and a remedy for the mess in the basement is in progress. Really. Unfortunately, the closest I've come to fixing the budget crisis was finally paying off my credit card with a disappointingly large portion of my tax refund today, and as for the getting to bed at a reasonable hour on week nights one? Well, it's currently 11:25 on a Sunday night and I'm still on my computer, so I guess you be the judge of my success on that one.

All of that said, I hope everyone had a lovely Easter, if you celebrate it, and a fine, old-timey, no-stores-open-today Sunday if you don't. My friends and I had a tasty brunch this morning at a restaurant we really should visit more often, if for no other reason than the free brunch on a return visit that we earned by our purchase today and for their eight-glasses-for-$25 wine club, which is a club I really ought to join, I think (despite my fear-of-commitment aversion to organized memberships of any sort). Next time, however, we need to shoot for later in the day. I bragged that skipping church makes for an easier reservation, but the diners who arrived after church got the better brunch, I fear. As we divvied up our bill, we glanced at the dessert table and saw a cheesecake being brought out that wasn't there before. I mean, sure, my peanut butter bar, mini cream puff, and carrot cake were tasty, but cheesecake? The ultimate in desserts? I feel cheated. We saw that, and I said, "I bet if we wait long enough, they'll bring mashed potatoes out, too." And for some reason, just before we paid, I said it again, such is my love of mashed potatoes (even in a big silver bin on a buffet). And wouldn't you know it? With our coats on, heading out the door, a man in a white apron brushed right passed us, giant tray of mashed potatoes in his sweaty little hands. Seriously: the Christians got a better brunch for their $12. Our risen savior rewards his followers with cheesecake and mashed potatoes. The lazy heathens get carrot cake and stroganoff (which, granted, was still not a bad deal, mind you, but obviously my love of mashed potatoes is strong).

All right. I thought I had more inconsequential nonsense to ramble on about, but this late Sunday night is quickly growing even later, and dead tired on a Monday is my least favorite (even if seemingly unavoidable) way to start the week. So perhaps later I will bore you with my questions about just why the slow and disturbing No Country for Old Men was such a shoe-in
for Best Damn Picture of the Whole Damn Year, or why mixing up a glass or two of Instant Ghetto Sangria is both a good and a terrible idea on a Sunday night. Meanwhile, how was your weekend? Good? Good. Do tell.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book of Revelation...Fire-breathing lion's head...tail made out of snakes...Who else is it gonna be?

Hello, friends. While it is still my Very Special Birthday Week, it is no longer my actual birthday, so I'd really better post something new, hadn't I? First, though, I should say that I had a lovely birthday, which involved dinner with (and excellent presents and prizes from) several good friends, as well as four different cakes. Four cakes is not a record, of course, given that whole five-cake birthday when I turned six, but it was exciting nonetheless. Also, my sixth birthday did not involve vodka, so there are some advantages to getting older, I suppose.

Because comparison is fun, check it out:

I like cake

Haven't changed a bit, have I? Well, my excitement about cake hasn't, anyway.

Also, while I was busy recovering from my own birthday, my blog had a birthday as well. Stefanie Says turned three yesterday. Presumably we're potty trained and ready for preschool now. It's all very exciting, of course.

As if all of that (not to mention St. Patrick's Day) weren't cause enough for celebration, those wacky Christians who are in charge of the holiday calendar went and put Easter in the same seven-day span as well. I will be enjoying that the same way I have for the past few years--by stuffing myself at a brunch with several of my favorite fellow heathens. It's amazing how easy it is to get a group reservation on one of the busier days of the year, even mere days in advance of the holiday, if you're simply willing to take a late morning time slot during which all the real Easter celebrants are at church. Score on that, I say. An early meal just means I'll be home sooner to get a jump on that inevitable afternoon nap.

I'm sure my very Catholic mother would be shaking her very disapproving head at that last paragraph, calling me out in shame at my seeming disrespect for our Savior's rising from the grave. And while I apologize for my flip remarks, I still say Easter always was one of the weaker and less eventful holidays, despite what they said in my grade school religion classes. Metalia's the expert on this, not me, but it actually seems that Jews have all the fun, what with the Bag o' Plagues and the Huggable Matzah Ball and the Let My People Go board game.

Actually, scratch any enthusiam about that "Let My People Go" board game. It just called to mind a not-so-rousing game of Bible Trivia that my sisters and I were once roped into playing at a family friend's house when we were kids. I have always enjoyed winning board games, but I remember my poor showing in that one being not unlike Bart and Lisa's miserable failure against Rod and Todd Flanders in their game of Bible Bombardment. No stickers for me, obviously. Eight years of Catholic school and little aside from pervading guilt to show for it, I guess.

But enough about me. How will you be spending the most Cadbury-friendly holiday this year?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

One good thing that came out of my little sister spending so much time at my parents' house prior to my grandma's death is that she scanned hundreds of old family photos so we could all enjoy them in electronic form. This one is not necessarily my favorite, but it is the only one that features my puffed-out cheeks and a frightening clown cake. The photo, by the way, is from my sixth birthday, the year I received five different cakes. Oddly, I liked the scary clown one best. There's no accounting for my six-year-old taste. (The red smocked dress might also be evidence of that.)

Here's hoping any cakes I see today are not of the nightmare-inducing variety. I'm also hoping the birthday present Mother Nature gave me this morning was just a brief, cruel joke and the snow and ice that made my commute to work a bit harrowing are long gone before my friends and I venture out to my birthday gathering tonight. If there is one thing I should not have to do on my birthday, it is shovel. Well, shovel or have a root canal. Or clean my bathroom. Or get a flat tire. Hell, there are a whole lot of things I should not have to do on my birthday, I suppose. But I'll stick to the shoveling thing for now. Go, Sun, go!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You guys, I totally forgot I have a blog.

Huh. Have I really not clicked "Publish" on anything since last Tuesday? I could have sworn I did a Friday Five... You mean that didn't somehow make its way from my head to the Blogger screen on its own? No? Must work on that. If we can publish straight from phone to blog (well, "we" being people with fancier phones than mine, obviously), then surely the brain-to-blog interface is right around the corner. Of course, if that happens, Wordpress will get it first, giving Noelle one more reason to yell at those of us still on Blogger to migrate already for her convenience.*

All right then. How was your weekend? Good? Good. In Minnesota, it's been a balmy 40-some degrees for the past few days, which means people are traipsing about in shorts and flip-flops because apparently the thing to do when it's finally warm enough not to see your breath outside is to dress insensibly enough as to ensure you're still as cold as you've been for the past five months. I will never understand this. Yes, it's nice to brave the great outdoors beyond my front door with my coat carelessly left unbuttoned, but I'm still wearing a coat, dammit. It's 45 degrees outside; that's just good sense. My skin is not ready for direct exposure to the elements. One must work up to such things.

I actually didn't spend much time outside breathing non-recirculated air this weekend, despite WhiskeyMarie's compelling order to do so. No, instead I went the opposite route and spent nearly all daylight hours in my cold, dark basement, like the common mole person I generally strive not to be. I am making slow but certain progress on this basement semi-finishing project, by the way. At this rate, I'll be ready to watch a movie in a comfortable, naturally air-conditioned room by mid-August, which is, incidentally, the only time this basement room I'm working on will likely be livable at all. (Note to self: Must buy a space heater if I intend to be down there for any length of time at any other time of year. This I've learned so far.)

This weekend I tackled the least fun part of the basement beautification and organization project: clearing away all the detritus that Ralph's family left behind and that I've been lazy enough to ignore up to now. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge one more of the many, many differences between owning and renting? When you rent, you can leave all manner of shit and rubbish behind, but the cleanup will come out of your security deposit, thereby ensuring the next renter starts off with a clean slate. There is no deposit when selling a house, but if there were, Ralph's children would have been billed a balance after that deposit was depleted. Here is but a brief list of the things I cleared out of my basement today--things currently piled in and near my alley-side garbage bin, ready to press the limits of the City of Minneapolis's rather generous solid waste & recycling rules (not to mention my own environmental conscience):

  • One wire shelf and metal handle for a fridge I do not own.

  • One metal furnace filter (from the days, apparently, when we had time to clean and reuse furnace filters, rather than buy paper-based, disposable ones manufactured by 3M).

  • One envelope of keys that I am sure I will regret throwing away within weeks from now, when I finally discover some locked secret compartment within my home that's somehow gone unrecognized for the past four and a half years.

  • Four rolling furniture feet from a piece of furniture I have never seen.

  • One box of assorted wires, tubes, and pipe fittings.

  • One dingy white wicker hamper, minus the lid.

  • One Montgomery Ward exercise bike, most likely circa before I was born.

  • Six vinyl tiles of assorted patterns, none of which are currently installed within my home.

  • Three screens that are not needed for any window within my house. (Update! The screens are gone! Is there a screen fairy trolling up and down my alleyway? Is there a Golden Goat for building materials that I should know about?)

  • One (leaking) tub of Dutch Boy "Texture Paint," which I think serves as the answer to my long-held question of how the hell they created that weird "sponge-painted with a garden slug" effect on the walls of my living room and bedrooms.

  • Two sets of first-generation radio earphones (complete with what I'm hoping is simply aged and yellowing plastic, as opposed to ancient earwax).

  • One whatever the hell this is, which I finally unscrewed and removed from the worktable beside my furnace. (Does anyone know what this machine is used for? And also, do you need one?)

  • One disassembled end table/magazine rack (in pieces, it's hard to tell just what it used to be).

  • One chipped and rusted metal bowl, half-filled with a clay-colored powder of unknown origin.

  • 24 paint cans ranging from empty to nearly full. (In all fairness, approximately half of these were mine. But that doesn't forgive the half that weren't.)

None of this should surprise me, of course. The first thing I did when I moved in was scrub the inside of the refrigerator so I felt safe putting food inside. The next day, my friend Lisa and I scraped all surfaces of the kitchen to rid them of the sticky, greasy, yellow goo in which everything was coated. "I keep expecting to find a whole pork chop," I remember Lisa saying. I agreed, but was extremely relieved we never found it.

Time flies when you're not having fun, and after all those hours in my basement, I feel I've been cheated out of my weekend somehow. In even better news, there's a winter storm warning for tomorrow into Tuesday. Apparently, neglecting to acknowledge the onset of spring dooms you to another several days of winter. Actually, snow this week is just about right. When that whole March Madness thing doesn't interfere with my friends' ability to attend my birthday festivities, a late-winter blizzard does the trick in its place. Payback is a bitch, I tell you. I had no idea ignoring the onset of spring weather meant more winter in its place. That damn groundhog has nothing to do with it; it's hermitude in the face of sunshine that really determines how much more winter we have. Fellow Minnesotans, if my productivity really is to blame for the snow we're shoveling tomorrow, I do apologize. But if I tell you it's my birthday week, you have to forgive me, don't you?

* What was that you were saying about tone the other day, Noelle? You know I love you, right? I hope that sentence didn't sound like I don't.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Step AWAY from the Tagalongs, Miss

So remember how I was complaining that I was the only one on the Internet whose Girl Scout cookies had not yet arrived? How I was damn near ready to hunt down that poor unsuspecting doe-eyed seven-year-old, take her by the collar, and demand, "Where my cookies at, bitch?"*

Um, yeah. My cookies are here. And I remember now why I usually allow myself only one box of Tagalongs per year. So much for my sensible eating plan. Sensible eating does not apply when I've got Tagalongs and wine in the house.

On a related note, could somebody please make these Do Si Do Peanut Thai Chicken Skewers** and let me know if they're worth the trouble? My grill is still buried under the remains of a snowbank and that late-winter dirty, diamond-hard ice, and frankly I doubt my lone box of Do Si Dos will make it through the thaw. Also, if you're adventurous enough to try the Samoas Sweet Potatoes, I'd love to hear how that works out as well. I mean, cookies? In your vegetables? Frankly that's the sort of brilliant plan I can get behind.

* I am kidding, I promise (particularly if said seven-year-old's mother happens to be reading this). I would never swear at a child (intentionally), and I would never (intentionally) make that gorgeous but high-strung and easily spooked little girl cry.

** PDF link. Sorry.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why I love the Internet, Reason #437

Last Wednesday it snowed, which was particularly inconvenient for the hundreds of people stuck at a standstill on I-94 because a semi-truck in Minnesota couldn't handle two inches of snow on the road five months into the winter season and decided to jack-knife or tip over or some such thing. It was perhaps just a wee bit less inconvenient for people like me, who simply had to find time to shovel their sidewalk, pack up their stuff, and grab a very quick dinner in the approximately 30 minutes between getting home from work and rushing off to quilting class.

Because every minute counts on rushed nights like that, I didn't bother taking off my boots when I ran into my house to grab a hat before shoveling. Instead I did what I often do: I decided to put each foot inside a Target bag so I could traipse through my house without mucking up my floors and carpeting with dirty wet snow. The only problem was I didn't have two empty Target bags within easy reach of my kitchen door. I did have one bag, however. So naturally I did the only illogical thing: I stepped both feet into that one Target bag and tried to shuffle and hop my way to the wicker cabinet in my living room entryway where my hats and mittens are stored.

I made it about halfway to my living room before I shuffled in an awkward way that left no give in the bag for my foot to land and found myself square on my ass in my hallway, narrowly missing colliding my head directly with a very hard and somewhat pointy piece of cabinetry.

All this because I was too damn lazy to take off my boots or to wipe a few snowy wet spots from my floors.

What does this story have to do with the Internet and why I love the kindred spirits who live inside it? This. My first thought, after I took the ridiculous spill on the edge of my kitchen, was, "Should I blog about that?" But by the time I got home from quilting I had already forgotten about it, and it seemed entirely too absurd a thing to admit to the world outside my kitchen anyway, so I let it go. Until I read about Abbersnail's similar moment of grace and realized I am not alone. Thank you, Abbers. You rock eight ways to Sunday (whatever that actually means).

Know why else I love the Internet? Where else can you find a t-shirt that says "I love the (Eighteen) Eighties" quite like this one does?

I love the Eighteen 80s

Olde-Timey Lloyd is now on his way to my little sister's house in honor of her birthday later this week (four days before my birthday, in case anyone's counting). I wonder if that's Peter Gabriel blaring from that Victrola or if Yester-Lloyd's wooing Diane with a little Gilbert and Sullivan instead.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Five signs I am obviously 33 going on 63

  1. I just spent $62 on anti-wrinkle products in a quite likely futile attempt to stave off an inevitable process that I'm not ready to accept. At the moment, I am worried only about my face, but I'm sure it's only a matter of months before I'm whining that I feel bad about my neck.

  2. Recently I made a joke during an exchange with a waitress, and she just smiled an uncertain, nervous "I have no idea what you're talking about, but I still want a tip so I'll humor you" smile. I have seen that same smile on countless waitrons over the years, but never as a result of something I said. No, generally my near-elderly dad is the source of that. I had no idea I was so close behind. (Incidentally, the date I was with got the joke. But he said he knew immediately that our waitress wouldn't.)

  3. On a related note, I recently complimented the youngster manning the register at Target on his unusually fine and careful bagging job by comparing it to Tetris. And then I looked at him with a sideways glance and asked, "Are you old enough to remember Tetris?" Apparently kids still play Tetris, so he looked at me like I was insane. Or, you know, 63. Which obviously I am. Good lord.

  4. I had my first quilting class Wednesday night, and not only am I quilting, but my back is sore from it. I'm going to console myself with the thought that anyone would be a bit stiff after standing in a hunched over position for well over an hour because they're too focused on the new and unfamiliar task at hand to, I don't know, grab a chair and SIT DOWN? The alternative (that I'm so out of shape that even quilting is a workout for me) is simply too ludicrous to consider.

  5. I fell on my ass (or rather, my hip) walking out of a parking ramp the other day, and I have been taking tiny, careful, old-lady steps to avoid a similar mishap ever since. In a strange bit of coincidence, the emails collecting in my Spam folder lately have repeatedly referred to hip implants. As I am perhaps unreasonably convinced that Yahoo spam is freakily customized to my age and lifestyle (they know I'm single, they know I'm 30-something, they know I'm balding and unable to please women with my male member... OK, just kidding on those last two, obviously), I've taken the hip implant messages personally, thinking Yahoo maybe knows something I don't. And what they know is I am old and feeble, clearly. Sigh. It couldn't possibly be that I just need better shoes. (It seems I lied to The Scientist after all. My shoes obviously aren't nearly sensible enough--at least not when there's this much ice around.)

P.S. I'll post the answers to the movie quiz a bit later. I'm still a bit curious if anyone will be less stumped than the folks who commented thus far. (Note: Sign #6 that I'm 33 going on 63? Who says "folks," really??)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More grammar and more whining, but if you make it through that, there's a game!

3/10 Update: Finally! I've posted the answers below. I'm sure it was killing you.

Obviously it is no longer National Grammar Day, so I thought I'd really better post something to move that last entry from top position. Sognatrice is right, though: EVERY day should be National Grammar Day! It's sort of like that "Keep Christmas with you all through the year" song they sang on the Sesame Street Christmas special... except, you know, with grammar. And no puppets.

Coincidentally, ON National Grammar Day I received an email message from a friend of mine with a work-related grammar question. (This occurs more often than you might think. Apparently I am the go-to source for grammar dilemmas for many people I know, including my boss, who considers me not only a walking Chicago Manual of Style but a human dictionary as well. I am going to assume she does this mostly because she doesn't always see me on a daily basis and obviously misses me, and not because I need to introduce her to the Internet.) Anyway, when I responded to my friend's question, I mentioned that it was an excellent day to be pondering big questions such as his, it being National Grammar Day and all. He replied with enthusiasm, suggesting that opening his email on that particular day must have been like opening a present on my birthday (which is coming up, by the way; start your shopping now, folks). Sometimes I wonder if my friends overestimate the extent of my nerdery or if I underestimate the extent of my nerdery. It's toss-up, I suppose.

I'm feeling rather cranky today, for reasons that have nothing to do with grammar, or how big of a nerd I am (or am not), or the fact that I STILL don't have my Girl Scout cookies, or even that the wrong person won Project Runway last night. (Yes, I got sucked into that just like half the rest of you. No, I won't say any more in case you've taped or Tivoed it and have avoided any spoilers thus far.) No, trite and overstated as it is, I think the weather is what's getting to me right now. I am tired of being cold all the time, tired of sliding around every time I go outside, either because the ice is slipperier than usual this year or because I've somehow forgotten how to walk in this weather or because I simply ought to buy some better shoes. Also, I am tired of listening to my nearby coworker sniff and cough every 8.2 seconds like clockwork. I know he can't help it, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. After three days of this, Coughy McSnifferson is working my last nerve.

To distract me from the negative then, how about a game? I'm stealing this from NPW, and the game is pretty simple. I give you quotes; you give me the movie (without using the Internet to cheat for reference).

Sadly, there will be no prizes, because I only recently managed to finally send out the prizes from my Pay It Forward contest last month (actually, I have one prize left to distribute, but I plan to hand that over to -R- in person when we meet for dinner tonight), so I don't much feel like starting that process all over again right away. This time, then, the only prize is my respect and admiration. Let's play anyway, shall we?

  1. I can't sing. I've got a sore finger.
    The Sound of Music (Congrats to -R-, Liz, L Sass, and Lara)

  2. This desk set wants to fly. Ladies and gentlemen, the world's first unmanned flying desk set.
    Dead Poets Society (Congrats NPW and Lara)

  3. - Hey, my brother. Can I borrow your copy of Hey Soul Classics?
    - No, my brother. You have to buy your own.
    Say Anything (Congrats to Pam and 3Carnations... I really, really thought more people than that would get this one)

  4. You know how I said I'd rather be with someone for the wrong reasons than alone for the right ones? I've decided I'd rather be right.
    Some Kind of Wonderful (Pam again. Yay!)

  5. That's fascinating. It's like dating public radio.
    2 Days in Paris (I didn't really expect anyone to get this one, and it seems I was right.)

  6. - How about worst case scenarios after graduation?
    - Heart attack.
    - Live in Milwaukee.
    Kicking and Screaming (No, not the Will Ferrell one. This one. And I highly recommend you all see it.)

  7. Hey brainless. Don't you know where coconuts come from?
    It's a Wonderful Life (Yay Mara. I can't believe Aaron didn't also identify this one. Clearly he was too lazy to even play.)

  8. Where's my wandering parakeet?
    The Philadelphia Story (It's a Jimmy Stewart double feature on #7 and #8. I love this movie. If you haven't seen it yet, you really must.)

  9. - You know that night on the phone? Well, I'm pregnant.
    - Are you sure it's mine?
    - I don't know; I made a lot of calls that night.
    The Truth about Cats and Dogs (Congrats NPW and -R-, assuming this title is in fact the one -R- meant by "Cats and Dogs movie with Janeane Garafelo")

  10. Now that's a real shame when people be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that.
    Better Off Dead (Yay to Pam and NPW.)

  11. - No more rhyming now. I mean it!
    - Anybody want a peanut?
    The Princess Bride (NPW, L Sass, and Pam pegged this one. I'm pretty sure Poppy knew it too.)
  12. All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks.
    Pump up the Volume (Apparently not everyone watched this movie 147 times during the early 90s, like my sisters and I did?)

  13. Why, if only we were all wiener dogs, our problems would be solved!
    The Brave Little Toaster (An obscure choice, I know, but a charming and underrated little animated gem)

  14. Marriage is like a tense, unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond. Only it doesn't last 22 minutes. It lasts forever.
    Knocked Up (NPW knows that Paul Rudd is one of my favorite fake boyfriends. Maybe the rest of you forgot.)

  15. I don't think you're an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother's pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever's in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences... But the thing is, um, what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.
    Bridget Jones's Diary (Yay NPW again, as well as -R-, Jess, 3Cs, and Lara. Note to 3Cs: It was actually Colin Firth who said it, not Hugh Grant, but you were close.)
And... Go!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Do you know what day it is?

As the Funky Carter Administration's appointed Grammar Czar, I feel it's my duty to notify you that today is, officially, National Grammar Day.

Do with that information what you will. Take a permanent marker to that sign with a missing apostrophe. Invite a friend over to diagram sentences. Try once again to teach the Internet the difference between its and it's. (Seriously! I am still seeing this places! Why can't we all just learn that one by now??)

Ahem. Sorry. I got a little worked up there, I guess. Perhaps I should have a grammartini and unwind. Or just flash my new membership card with authority and watch people's grammar miraculously improve on command.

What? It could happen, right? A nerd can dream.

Monday, March 03, 2008

TV Doings

Yes, yes, I know I've told more than enough stories about my grandma lately, but this one is too good not to share as well.

Before the funeral, my little sister gathered probably close to 100 photos of my grandma and various members of my grandma's family from the past 96 years and mounted them all on three giant pieces of poster board to display in the church during the service. A few of the photos were actually my grandma's own copies of the picture, including one of my mom's sister's family, who live very far away and who we (and my grandma) therefore very rarely see. On the back, my aunt wrote everybody's name, in the order they're sitting, so my grandma would know which great grandchild she'd never met was which.

Given my grandma's proclivity for labeling and imposing commentary on all things around her house (tight pants, dirty towels, lima beans, etc.), it should be no surprise that the woman added her own notes alongside my aunt's. My sister noticed the comments when she took apart the collages recently, and she e-mailed them to me the other day.

Some of the comments were old lady nonsense. "Return OK"? "See the twins so grandchildren care"? I have no idea what these things mean. But "Debbie look fat?" "Mike less hair"? I'm pretty sure what she was trying to get at with those (and it makes me glad we didn't find any notated photos of our side of the family... I'm not sure my ego could handle what my grandma thought of my body or my hair).

My favorite, though? Hands down that was this one. You may recall that the only way my mom was able to explain e-mail to her mother was to say she "wrote letters to people through the TV." I don't know if my grandma ever wondered why she couldn't write letters through her TV--if she thought she just didn't have the right equipment or wasn't paying for the right channel package for that. All I know is that to her, the Internet came through the TV. Hence, when my cousin met his now-wife on the Internet and they had a child together, my grandma's understanding was that it somehow transpired through their television. Under my cousin's name on the back of that photo, then, directed at my cousin's small child, my grandma wrote the following:

"The baby that he got to enjoy from the T.V. doings."

Sweet Jesus. TV doings. Oh, to be in that woman's head for just one day. I can only imagine all the other fantastic material she had hidden in there.